Social Question

flip86's avatar

Does anyone else here find laugh tracks annoying?

Asked by flip86 (6072 points ) February 6th, 2014

Ever since shows like Arrested Development, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc…I have hated sitcoms that have laugh tracks. Is it just me?

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23 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

Definitely one of the reasons there’s little British comedy I find entertaining. Their laugh tracks seem louder and somehow harsher than those in the states to me.

filmfann's avatar

Early episodes of M*A*S*H and SportsNight had laugh tracks, until they realized viewers didn’t need to know what the funny parts were, and that laugh tracks in general take away from the enjoyment of these shows. The shows stopped using them to great success.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Laugh tracks date back to about 1959. I love Lucy, Get Smart, etc.

Even back then, the producers thought their audiences were so stupid that they needed to be told when to laugh.

Yet another reason not to watch TV.

ibstubro's avatar

@filmfann SportsNight. Obscure TV, anyone? I loved that short lived show. Almost as much as Frank’s Place.

longgone's avatar

Of course, horribly so. Does anyone like them?

ibstubro's avatar

I think they were transitional, originally. When TV went from live to canned, people probably freaked if there was no audience. People couldn’t give up the group mentality.

hearkat's avatar

I’ve hated them for as long as I can remember, and I was born in the mid-60s.

livelaughlove21's avatar

It doesn’t bother me. I honestly can’t tell a difference between the ones with laugh tracks and the ones filmed in front of a real audience.

I think sitcoms without laughter included would be awkward to watch.

marinelife's avatar

I do too.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yes I find them annoying. If you turn the sound down or leave the room you can hear the laugh track. mumble mumble. Hahaha!
I like Big Bang Theory but they are killing it with that stupid laugh track.

dxs's avatar

Are they actual recordings of laughter? And if the show is dated, then doesn’t that mean we’re listening a bazillion dead people laughing? That’s kinda scary.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Yeah, not to fond of them myself.

rojo's avatar

Me! Me! Me! Me! Meeeeeee!

ucme's avatar

Most US “comedy” shows do this & it just grates on you, sounds fucking terrible.

longgone's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Do you know Modern Family? No laugh track, and fun.

Edit: Just realized Modern Family is not a sitcom.

stanleybmanly's avatar

They’re truly annoying, but I can tolerate them. The wife, on the other hand, will NOT watch a program with canned laughter. The entire history of network comedy is a non event for her. She is actually a marvel to talk with in extended conversations, because she is missing so many cultural reference points.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@longgone Yes, I know it. I’m not a fan. I’m not saying that’s because there’s no laugh track – I just don’t like it.

I love The Office (US). I think the lack of a laugh track works for them because of the type of humor on that show. I can’t imagine Friends without audience laughter.

hominid's avatar

Sure. They are insulting, a crutch, and really a deal-breaker. It would probably be more enjoyable if they were to replace the laugh track with a flashing “laugh now!” command at the bottom of the screen.

But I find that some tv shows without laugh tracks, as well as movies, often use melodramatic music to manipulate the audience in the same way. This can be equally distracting.

Smitha's avatar

They never bothered me growing up, but not I find it really annoying. At times even if the jokes are not funny they play the tracks.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Are we calling live audiences “laugh tracks” here as well? Just so I know what people are actually talking about.

Like with Friends, they filmed in front of an audience, so the laughing we heard was actual laughter from actual people at the time the show was being filmed. At least, that’s what I assume from watching bloopers that also have laughter and actors speaking to the audience. Therefore, the laughter tended to be appropriate for each joke – little jokes get little laughs, big ones get big laughs.

hearkat's avatar

@livelaughlove21 – No; laugh tracks are what’s also referred to as “canned laughter” – the recorded chuckles and yucks. Although even with a live audience, there’s someone on the side telling them when to applaud and encouraging their responses, so that is manipulated too.

flip86's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I mean all laughter that you can hear. Even shows filmed in front of an audience get laugh tracks added in during editing. Also, the shows I mentioned are considered sitcoms and they are just fine without the laughter.

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